…among other things. It has become increasingly clear that I’ve fallen off the running wagon this year. On Saturday I watched on the socials as dozens of my friends ran around the city and province, training and racing in events including five klick fundraisers, long training runs, late-evening party races, favourite mountain events, and even an epic ultra marathon trail run. I ate pizza and wandered around the science centre. Albeit it was my only daughter’s tenth birthday party and I was playing the role of the good dad, but I didn’t even go out for a modest morning jog on Saturday. It didn’t even cross my mind. I tell myself over and over and over that “I’m gonna pick it up” again soon, get back into some serious training and maybe even some serious distance… but there is a motivational element that isn’t clicking these days. It used to be that I wrote about it, ran it, and then wrote about it some more. Maybe that was it? Stay tuned, I guess… this slump can’t last forever.
This morning’s coffee is brought to you by the letter L and the lazy effort to mix up all the little bags of ground coffee with not enough left to make a full pot. Hashtag: #bottomofthebagblend
It’s been a lazy week for up-keeping this blog. Sorry. Things happened.
I’ve been doing math and the logical, cynical, lazy part of my brain keeps telling me that the year is a write-off. Deep down I know better, but logic has always been a solid ally in my life so even when it trails off into the shadowy paths of pessimism I tend to follow.
It has been a disappointing summer of running. Or, more accurately, not running very much at all.
Rather, it’s been a bit of a walkbreak. Run for ten months, walk three. Not exactly the right kind of interval training, and not when it came as abruptly and as unplanned as it did. I mean, in the do-as-I-say-not-as-do school of running, I would encourage that exact sort of thing. Take a break. Train for a goal … two maybe … and then take some time off, enjoy your new-found fitness, restore connections with family, have a beer, relax.
But there is a difference between choosing to take a break, and having a break thrust upon you mere days before … before … reaching a goal. It hurts. It aches. It jabs a knife into the dark recesses of your heart and …
This is what the math tells me: the math tells me that in the three summer months, June through August, I ran a total (including that botched half marathon a couple weeks ago) of two hundred and fifteen kilometers. Compare that to the summer of 2013, when I was … admittedly … training for a marathon and I racked up five hundred and seventy klicks over the same span of time. Heck, in July alone last year I was only a handful of meters short of two-hundred training klicks. Even the roughest, most generous of math, will tell you that I just barely ran one-third the distance this summer over last summer. One third. And those weren’t shorter runs, either. They were fewer. More scattered. Skipped. Leaving gaps and gaping holes in my plan and schedule.
Just as you are very probably shouting at your screen right now, that logical part of my brain is too: telling me to chill, relax, get over it.
And maybe I should. I mean, I have those excuses, of course.
I’ve been on a long, multi-year training schedule that has bent me into strange and crazy shapes, consumed swaths of my time, and sent me into a number of epic running events that will forever haunt my memory and fill my future moments of nostalgia with prolific bragging points.
But then a sciatic nerve injury in late May led to weeks off, completely off, with no running. Followed by a slow, frustrating rebuild. Then sporadic training where I never really got my groove back.
A two week vacation in the middle of August was lovely, but I logged less than ten klicks on the Icelandic trails, and those were only vanity runs, little more than souvenir GPS trails for my collection.
And then? Well … there is part of me that wants to blame the calf muscle cramps for another week-long hiatus and slow rebuild, but there is another (much more honest) part of me that knows the reverse is true: the sporadic training and lax summer is responsible for the muscle cramps. Too little training. Too much confidence. And…
A walkbreak. A long, dark and unwelcome walkbreak of heartbreaking, soul-crushing frustration.
More math tells me that to meet my annual goals, even the adjusted mid-summer step-down and plan B, even that, I have over five hundred klicks to run in 2014. In less than four months. I would need to average nearly four and a half klicks per day, every day, on average to meet that milestone. Thirty klicks per week.
Part of me knows I could probably do it. I could set my mind on the task and push through to my imaginary finish line. But the other part of me is still stuck in that long, dark walkbreak and needing to find a way to listen to the beep of my less-logical mind and start running again.
In a way it is true that I already have. The plan is to go out tonight again and the runs-in-a-row tally will hit an even ten. But in my mind I’m still stuck, still seeking to un-stick … carefully, methodically, and without re-injuring my still-fragile self … and I’m not sure I’ve figured out how to do that yet.
Minus 22 with a thirty-below-zero windchill. All following a very lazy week. Time to suck it up and get out for a run.
Between projects @ work, the mixed-chill in the weather, post-marathon resting and general all-round blahs and lack of motivation, I’ve been pretty lazy about running this last half of January. I guess that amounts to something of a deserved break, but I’m very quickly falling behind on my goal of keeping up with last year’s virtual distance run and tracking lots of klicks for the next while. Can anyone say “burned out” much? I’m not done. I’m just taking a few casual days. And now that February has arrived (on a quiet Saturday with some time to kill, to boot) I’m sitting here contemplating how much energy I can muster to get my sorry ass out the door and put some distance on this morning. Problem is, I kinda need some mild inspiration this morning and just a regular run isn’t going to cut it. I’m thinking of maybe some river valley. I’m thinking maybe some exploration. I’m thinking maybe some adventure.
A reloaded post is a short-and-sweet collection of the (sometimes-interlinked) randomness from my recent life, universe and everything else in between. They would be more detailed but they tend to be events lacking in either (a) details or (b) depth; Or lacking in the time to more fully record them. Enjoy.
It’s October. Ka-POW! Just like that summer ended, the leaves all turned, and I’m suddenly wearing long pants and a toque when I run instead of choosing from my collection of trusty shorts and multi-coloured array of brimmed summer-friendly hats.
So, what’s been going on?
I miss my daddy days, I’ll admit. With Claire in full-on, full-days Grade One this year, those handful of rare and precious hours of freedom on random idle days have all but evaporated into the ether of nothingness. Sure, we get weekends and PD days, but it’s just not the same as a solid four hour chunk on a Friday afternoon to go for lunch and hit the swimming pool when everyone else is at work.
“Well… uh, where did you hear that?” I asked, knowing full well to that here in 2013 to have reached the age of six and NOT have heard the word ‘sexy’ would have been an epic achievement in cloistered parenting.
“The boys at school said it’s a bad word.”
“Really?” I probed. “I don’t think it’s a bad word. It’s…” I was scrambling to sort out a good explanation in the fractional moment that I had to keep her interest. Sure, you say, let it pass and her attention will drift elsewhere, right? Sure, but her confidence in dad’s ability to answer tough questions then chips away a little bit more. “It’s a grown up word.” I spit out quickly. “It’s not that it’s a bad word, it’s just a word that kids don’t really need to use.”
“What does it mean though?” She prodded.
“Uh… I guess it means… well, it’s a way of saying someone is beautiful or pretty, but in a really grown up way. And…” I hesitated, but chose to keep going because finding that balance between (a) not lying to her and (b) not confusing her or giving her just plain too much information, well, that’s not an easy balance to find. “And… well, you know a lot of grown ups use that word to describe someone they’d like to see naked.”
She giggled. “Why?”
“Because grown ups are just weird, I guess.” And that pretty much settled it.
Weird in so many ways…
Toys, Games & Goofing Around
We’ve been playing a lot lately. September and now October have been toys and games months.
First off, my Playstation3 borked. We’ve had the little machine for nearly five years, I think. I think. Well, 2008 sits in my mind for some reason. But it finally started acting up: the BluRay was struggling to read discs and it was making a grinding noise. I did some research and, yeah, I probably could have performed a dissection and a fix with parts I could try and cobble together off ebay. But then… well, I found a good sale on an upgraded model, ordered it, and the old one is now serving time as a media and Netflix box in the basement while the new one is the primary gaming machine.
And I’m almost a little sheepish to admit that we’ve acquired a few new toys lately and spent some QT with some old ones too.
Claire and I have been basking in the LEGO-funtimes glow for a few months now, maybe making up for the fact the local swimming pool is closed for renovations and our daddy-daze daddy days have been cut to a short supply… or maybe it’s just the cool weather. We’ve been building Mindstorms robots with our new set, and dropping by the newish LEGO store at the mall for their free mini-kit builds or to splurge on the bulk “pick-a-brick” assortments, and slowly accumulating a respectable collection of parts and pieces in our now-dedicated LEGO space in the basement office.
Also, I’ve pulled out some old games. I mentioned in a previous post that I’ve been playing Skyrim again and our various other adventures with various other devices, including pulling out my old but still very functional PSP, has left me with a guilty feeling about time spent writing versus time spent playing.
Or running, perhaps…
Slow Feets Week
My training is not off the rails. It’s just been a tough couple of weeks to focus on running.
If you’d spent the summer watching my ongoing running distance (displayed over there in the sidebar) tally rolling upwards at a jack-rabbit like pace, the fall might be presenting you with more of a turtle-like impression.
I’ve been getting out… once or twice a week for the last couple weeks: not great considering I’ve got an epic race to run in now almost exactly three months. Or, less than, actually…
Shifting weather, balancing external obligations, fighting lingering aches and pains and sometimes what seems like a looming cold, as well as trying to jam a marathon maintenance schedule amongst my running social group who are now all shifting their priorities for the winter season: it’s added up, sum-tallied to a tough slog.
I’ll get through: I’ve got a 16 klick run planned for Sunday morning and then into my full on, back-to-back run plan for the rest of the season. It’s daunting, but I’ll get across that line somehow. The block, if one even exists, is mostly mental… with a dash of busy schedule thrown into the mix.
That said, I’ll be doing a clinic talk this upcoming Tuesday for Heather’s 10k group on motivation and program planning. That might kick start some of this idle guilt into a few dozen klicks of distance logged, eh?
The same sentiment, sadly, has been a running theme in my photography lately.
I won’t bumble through this as anything but laziness: but then I’m sitting here, on my Friday off, looking out the window of a cafe where I’m sitting writing about how lazy I am, looking at the epic blue sky shining down on the autumn palette of colour adorning the soon-to-fall foliage, and… maybe I’ll just sign off now, go grab my camera, and take the dog on a photo expedition walk. Sounds smarter than sitting here lamenting about it, right?
Once more it is June. Again. And again I embark upon that epic effort of daily blogging, take three, wherein I call upon myself for a kind of rambling focus, picking from a list of daily topics, and with neither planning nor advance writing, strive to pepper this blog with the free-thought, free-writing wonder that is another one of Those 30 Posts in June. Today, that post just happens to be:
June 20th // Something You Are Feeling
…because I’d really rather be watching TV than writing a blog post. But, hey… commitments, right?
…because I have this idea I should take more risks for some reason. Acting on it is entirely another matter, of course.
…because so much running. So. Much. Running. Need I say more?
…because my daughter scored another goal in her soccer game last night.
…because, well, yeah… I mentioned the running didn’t I?
…because of all these blog posts. This makes 20 days in a row.
…because while I mentioned the running, I neglected to mention that we’ve been doing it in the rain a lot lately. A couple hours ago, in fact.
This is it: the last day of June… and after twenty-nine previous posts I’m wrapping up my daily blogging exercise, marginally focused along a question-and-answer theme I’ve simply called Those 30 posts in June. I hope you enjoyed it. There was almost no planning. Almost no (though I cheated here and there) writing of these words days in advance. Still mostly just this: each day a meanderingly vague prompt drove a meanderingly vague post… and today, it ends with this, the last post, a post just happens to be:
June 30th // Something You Want To Share
Ok. So it’s officially been over a year and a half since I spent that one crazy November doing NaNoWriMo and, sitting in a local cafe, regurgitated a novel-length block of text onto the interwebs. I note this because it has officially been over a year and five months since I’ve even looked at that smear of text and spent more than ten consecutive seconds considering the possibility of doing something with it… y’know, like editing, revising, and sharing it.
I’ve been a little distracted, I guess.
I mean, not that this is some kind of epic winner of a novel, but it is something that I actually spent time writing and could potentially — assuming I spent additional (potentially a lot of) quality time scrubbing and polishing it up to a publishable state — put out there for public consumption. Sell it. Have people read it. Get feedback and maybe money in compensation for that work.
This isn’t as far-fetched as one might imagine. I mean, look waaaaaaaaaaay back to 2010 when I wrote it and the world of self-published novels was quite limited, and usually realistically amounted to little more than paying some printing press to do a limited, vanity run of your words onto paper. But self-publishing, for those paying attention, has grown by leaps and bound in the intervening two years. In fact, one of my current favourite books — Wool, by Hugh Howey — is a self-published novel, sold for a meager few pennies on the Kindle Store, that has climbed and clung to the best selling top ten for a surprisingly long stretch. Things have changed.
See, all these big book vendors, old and new, have jumped on the skip-the-middle-man content train and opened up the world of self-publication to anyone and everyone. Independent novels are being published at an amazing pace as low-cost, take-a-chance-on-me electronic files. This is the time. This is the opportunity. This is the moment for anyone with an even remotely readable book to put a bit of spit and polish on it and hang it out on the Kindle store (or wherever) and try and make a few bucks and possibly a reputation as an author. And people are doing just that. It’s a remarkable thing.
And me? I’ve been a little distracted, just sitting here on my own bit of novel-like text, and wondering…
I’m wrapping up this month of daily blogging with this final post and these final words. I won’t be slowing down writing here. Nope. If you thought I was done, think again. I’ll be on this roll for a while yet. But, that said, I may just start spending a little more time with some of my fiction efforts — old and new — and possibly, just maybe, do a little more sharing of that novel I wrote.
I’ve been lazy for the last month.
Between random summery obligations, around-the-province travel, the Fringe, and other general laziness, I missed running for a few weeks straight. Couple that with poor eating habits, a mixed collection of sloth and gluttony, and a fairly slow month at the office (meaning fewer meetings, fewer sprints through the city hive, and spending most of my days just sitting at a desk working) and the whole running thing has taken a temporary backseat.
Not good. Not good because my laziness doesn’t hold back ongoing passing of days and weeks, and there’s that one tiny issue of an upcoming run (for which I registered back in February) that takes place later this month in Banff: Melissa’s 10K.
Now, you say, dude: weren’t you training for a half marathon earlier this summer?
And I reply: yeah, but take nearly a month off and then eat food of the quality sold at the Fringe Festival (read: fried, salty, fatty, and/or sugary) for a number of days solid, and then see how that half-marathon training holds up.
I found out this week: I ran an 11K with hills LAST Sunday morning, and limped back home to recover. I trotted out a 7K jog on Wednesday evening with the crew at the new Terwillegar store (where everyone has apparently defected, but that’s another story) and felt it… hard. And another 7K trot yesterday morning was a bit easier, but clearly explained to me in crisp block-letters that in the next three weeks leading up to my mountain run, some serious back-to-school refresher training is in order.